I was listening to a podcast today and it made me think. It made me think about how and why we feel that we have to validate our lives and illnesses to other. So let me ask you a question….. How many times have you felt the need to validate yourself and/or your condition this week? Or even this month? How many times have you found yourself explaining your health to someone who probably has no reason to know what’s really going on? Or found yourself explaining why you can or can’t do something or go somewhere? Now let me ask another question….. Why do you feel like you have to validate yourself and your condition?
Validating means that you feel the need to prove yourself or your condition, by proving that what you are saying about yourself or health is true. So proving to those in your life that you are REALLY sick! I can think of several times the last couple weeks where I felt that I had to explain myself and my health. But honestly…. Why? Why do we feel that we have to explain ourselves? Our health is a big part of us and we shouldn’t have to prove ourself! We shouldn’t have to prove to people that we are sick. I know that most of us look “fine” so people just assumes that we aren’t sick. They can’t see what we deal with on a daily basis. They can’t see the pain or the nausea or the migraine. They can’t feel the high heart rate or low blood pressure. They can’t see the anxiety or depression that we deal with so often. They can just see what’s on the outside.
For me I know that I often feel like I have to validate what is going on inside since it can’t been seen. But that’s going to change. One of the things I am going to start working on in the new year is to just be me, and how I am no longer explain my life choices or health to anyone else. I know that may sound rude or hateful. But I can’t soend time worrying about what others make think. Even if I take the time to explain to those who “MUST KNOW,” there is a good chance that they won’t totally believe what I am telling them. So, I have decided that I am not going to worry about how others view me. Or what they think. I have enough going on in my life and with my health that I don’t need that worry as well.
Does that mean I am going to stop telling friends and family what is going on? NO that’s not part of the plan. I am talking about acquaintances, or the people who want to give me trouble for using my handicapped placard, or the people in Walmart who stare when I wear my mask, or the people at the drs offices who give me a dirty look for wearing my mask or using a wheelchair when I am really sick. Those are the people I will no longer be explaining myself to or validating what is going on inside my body. They don’t need to know. And I encourage you to all do the same. Save the energy and time that you have used explaining or validating your illness to others and use that time in a more constructive way.
I think the need to validate our illness to others is kind of engrained in us. We learn from an early age that people stare, and want to know about things that are out of the norm. And in some cases we feel that explaining ourselves is easier than just ignoring the problem. But why do we keep carrying this forward into younger generations? Why do we allow others to put their nose in our business? I’m sorry (not sorry) that you feel the need to know all about me and that you choose to shoot dirty looks at people who are different from the norm. That is YOUR problem not MINE. But I’m not sorry that I will no longer be giving you or your questions my time. And I hope that each of you reading this will adopt that for your life as well. Those of us with chronic illnesses have so much to think and worry about each day that we can’t take on anymore. We don’t have the capacity to worry about what others think or if they feel like we are just prenteding to be sick. We know the truth and so do our close family and friends. And that is all that matters. So to you who choose to shoot me dirty looks or mutter rude comments under your breath, I will no longer be giving you one ounce of attention. I am done worrying what you think!